The political climate for pro-choice activists in Oklahoma is definitely not an easy arena to work in. Oklahoma is a very conservative, largely pro-life state. The few pro-choice enclaves that there are tend to cling to each other for support as we watch our rights getting stripped away in the name of a certain type of morality that we may or may not subscribe to.
Yesterday morning a colleague and I sat in on a Senate Health and Human Services Committee meeting. Let me tell you dear readers, it was rough. All amendments we had lobbied for were tabled, and all of the bills up for hearing (HB2656, HB2780, HB3075, HB3264, and HB3290) that we were fighting against were given a Do Pass (allowed to go to the next round, basically).
Two of the three senators that were against the anti-choice legislation tried to debate but they knew that what they were saying was falling on deaf ears. One looked a little disgruntled when he tried to explain that this legislation entails big government interfering in medical practice, something that the anti-choice senators were purportedly against. Another explained plainly that this was a ploy to take away women’s choices. The rest of the senators looked bored, smug, and giddy. A few made some comments as a rebuttal, none of them actually making any sense and pretty much showing that the pro-choice senators could have been talking to walls.
People ask us all the time why we even bother with going up to the capitol, if we’re just going to get steamrolled over and over again. The answer (and I speak for myself in this instance) is that I want to be as much of a thorn in the other side’s side as I can be even if, right now, some of that seems ineffectual and depressing. I really can’t sleep at night otherwise, and I’m happy to be a part of an organization that allows me to do that in some small part, even if it’s just sitting in a room and looking discontent as some rich white men take my rights away.